Shanti Mudra ~ Peace Practice
This is one of my all-time favourite yoga practices..It is called Shanti Mudra meaning ”Invocation of Peace” or Prana Mudra meaning ”Invocation of Life Force”.
It is a combination of a pranayama practice and a meditation practice (and prayer)……
(Luckily there are diagrams of almost everything on the web!!)
So..the practice involves Moola Bandha – http://somathread.ning.com/groups/yoga-and-tantra/mudra-and-bandha/moola-bandha-the-root-lock
and awareness of the chakras in the spine…..
Begin by sitting in a comfortable meditation pose, whatever works best for you, though the knees should be coming down towards the floor if you are sitting cross-legged so that the tummy and chest have plenty of room to be soft and open. To help this you can sit on a firm cushion.
The spine should be erect and the muscles of the body at ease, the head well balanced, under the chin is parallel to floor and the eyes and mouth are gently closed.
This is called Sukhasana (or the easy Pose) – Sit directly on the sitting bones, by grabbing a (gentle) hold of each buttock in turn and pulling it back a little so that the tail bone is slightly tilted back. If the knees are coming up from the floor, prop under your bottom. Full stop. Otherwise you are cramped.
Or else..sit on a chair or kneel with a meditation stool.
Have the hands in Bhairava or Bhairavi Mudra.
Bhairava Mudra is when the right hand (male side) rests on top…Bhairavi when the left hand (female side ) rests on top. You could choose to practice according to which nostril is dominant. This changes every 60 – 90 minutes or so.
Relax the whole body with the eyes closed. When you are ready, EXHALE fully
and contract Moola Bandha. Hold the breath out and maintain Moola Bandha for as long as you find it comfortable. NO STRAINING.
Then release Moola Bandha. As you do this begin to INHALE.
Make the inhalation slow and smooth. As you inhale, raise the hands up along in front of the body. The palms face towards the trunk of the body but do not touch it. The fingers are slightly spread. The fingertips on opposite hands point towards each other but do not touch. Arms and hands remain soft and at ease.
Continue flowing up the body with the hands as you inhale.
When the hands reach the level of the throat, the elbows should also be sticking out at the sides and level with the shoulders. This is the maximum of Inhalation point.
Then, hold the breath inside, and, in a smooth flowing movement, open the arms out to the sides, palms facing either upwards or slightly inwards, elbows still at about shoulder height.
Keep the arms relaxed.
Keep the whole body relaxed. Keep the face relaxed.
Then, after you have held the breath out for a comfortable time, reverse the movement of the arms as you slowly exhale.
Bring the palms back down along the front of the body, close enough that you can sense the body heat, but not touching the body.
Rejoin the hands at the end in Bhairava(i) Mudra.
At the end of the exhalation practice a brief Moola Bandha contraction again (for only as long as comfortable to hold breath out).
Then completely relax the body and breathe normally for a while and rest.
Repeat the whole practice 3 to 7 rounds with rests between. Do not strain breath. Move the hands fast enough so the breath is always comfortable.
Perfect this physical movement and breath part before moving on to the next addition.
Now for the PRANA part.
After you release Moola Bandha and begin to inhale and raise the hands up along the front of the body, try to imagine or feel the prana / energy moving up from mooladhara through the chakras, all up along the body, to the visuddhi at the throat.
Then when you open the arms out, feel the prana moving up to ajna, bindu and sahasrara, and then radiating out into the Universe.
Hold the sensation of the whole body radiating with peace and energy. The energy of the body connects with the energy of the Universe.
When it is time to exhale, Imagine or feel the prana descending back down through the chakras to Mooladhara. This prana can be visualised as a stream of white or golden light, moving smoothly in the spinal column, or whatever image captures your attention best.
What is really nice about this practice is you can use it both to offer peace and energy to the Universe, and also to accept peace and energy from the Universe. So, say for example, you are feeling tired you might keep the palms more facing inwards towards the head/body at the end of inhalation, or if you have loads of energy you might open the hands up more towards the sky. It’s up to you to interpret as you wish…these are just suggestions.